Tesco is to face an investigation into its relations with suppliers, after concerns were raised that it breached the Groceries Supply Code of Practice.
The Groceries Code Adjudicator now joins the Serious Fraud Office and the Financial Reporting Council in investigating the supermarket chain.
The investigation has been launched after adjudicator, Chistine Tacon revealed that she “had reasonable suspicion” that the code had been breached.
The GCA will look into Tesco’s profits and delays in payments to suppliers, reports the BBC, in an investigation expected to take up to nine months.
In a statement, Business Secretary, Vince Cable said: “Last week I secured the final agreement in government to proceed with legislation to enable the regulator to impose hefty fines for those supermarkets found guilty of mistreating suppliers.”
However, despite the legislation, Tacon will not be able to fine Tesco, as any offences she is looking into would have been committed before she was given the power to do so.
Tacon said: “This is the first investigation I have launched and it is a significant step for the GCA. This is an historic day for the groceries code adjudicator and shows we have created regulator that has real teeth.
“I would encourage anyone with any evidence of wrongdoing to come forward and to be confident of being able to do so confidentially, as their anonymity will be protected by law.”
Tacon has called for evidence to be submitted by April 3rd.